Every month for the past two years, Spartan Pro Kevin Donoghue — a long-time Pro with more than 177 combined podium appearances and 127 Age Group victories to his name — has selected the top-10 male and female North American Elite Spartan racers for the Power Rankings based on recent accomplishments, results, and overall race resumes. In the process, he's also ruffled a lot feathers (and he's not sorry).
But over the past few seasons, something became very evident. The action, competition, and stories that unfold across the Age Group divisions every weekend are not only fascinating, but abundant.
In 2023, the Spartan Power Rankings will be dedicated to highlighting the accomplishments, newly born battles, and age-old rivalries of Spartan's hometown heroes: the Age Groupers!
February — along with the first U.S National Series of the 2023 Spartan race season — is in the books, and the first-ever Age Group-focused Power Rankings is finally here.
Based on our Fort McDowell, Arizona and Jacksonville, Florida race weekends (along with the SoCal weekend from the end of January), there were 120 overall top-10 spots available for the 10 Age Groups (men and women combined) over which the athletes were battling.
So, which Age Group earned the most spots? Which Age Group had the highest placement average? And which Age Group do you think dominated?
To learn more about how Kevin scores and makes his picks, read up on the official criteria here. Have a gripe with one of Kevin's picks? Bury it deep inside and let it fuel your 2023 training.
Let the debate begin!
The February 2023 Spartan Age Group Power Rankings
10) 60+ (Brady Bunchers)
Though they didn't have an athlete make the overall top 10, they were still crushing it out on the course. This Brady Bunch crew packed the station wagon and came out in big numbers: 136 of these bell bottom graduates crossed the finish line over the first three races, led by Kellie Gross and Robert West, who both took gold at the first U.S. National Series race of 2023 in Jacksonville.
9) 55-59 (Breakfast Clubbers)
The 55-59 Age Group also had no one crack the top 10, but John Castle and Charles Taylor threw down great performances to stand on top of the Jacksonville podium to start the USNS alongside Robin Fontaine and Darla O'Connor, who we can expect to see battle it out in a series of nail-biters as the season progresses.
8) 14-17 (TikTokers)
Unlike Jake Paul, our youngest Age Group out there had some great athletic success this month! Collectively, the 14-to-17-year-olds took two spots in the top 10 across the first three U.S. Spartan events of the 2023 season. Ethan Tucker and Giancarlo Vecchio took gold and silver down in Jacksonville, while Charity Powell, Kaitlin Lawrence, and Rylee Morris took gold, silver, and bronze respectively in this super competitive girls' division. These fast-paced races set the tone for some exciting podium social posts for the future of OCR in 2023!
7) 50-54 (Top Guns)
The first major debate here is, who's more Maverick: Cole DeRosa or Heather Gollnick? This Age Group is notorious for two of the greatest Age Group racers of the moment, who both put up a hell of a fight in Jacksonville and won the first leg for the 50-54s to kick off the USNS. Overall, this AG had 11 appearances this month in the overall top 10, with an 8.4% placement average.
6) 18-24 (Incredibles)
After spending most of high school and college locked down due to COVID, this Age Group has come back with a vengeance and has been stellar so far this season! They've had 12 appearances in the overall top 10, with a solid 5.4% placement average and one overall victory, courtesy of Xavier Fierro in Arizona's Sprint!
5) 45-49 (Saved by the Bells)
These racers are definitely built more like AC Slater, and less like Screech. With 18 appearances in the overall top 10 and one overall victory, the 45-49s brought some real heat to the course this month (especially in the Jacksonville Super, where Rana Brooks and Jess Shvedov led the charge and the lot took four spots by themselves). Plus, Ireland Macbadaigh took first in the male division of the Age Group's USNS 5K, leading an all-star group of racers.
4) 25-29 (Avengers)
Though they had less appearances (12) in the overall top 10 than the Saved by the Bells, they made each appearance count. Leading the charge was Chris Barta, who won the AG overall at the SoCal Sprint in late January. This Age Group averaged a placement of 4.2, which is second best out of all of the Age Groups. Who's first? Keep reading (or ask Doctor Strange).
3) 40-44 (Baywatchers)
Not since David Hasselhoff have so many fit people run better in the sand. This group crushed it in SoCal, Arizona, and Jacksonville, with 17 overall top appearances. They have an average placement of 5.4 and added two overall victories with Jaun Rocha and Matt Taverner. "Fast" Eddie Sanchez, Sarah Hernandez, Christi Acosta, and Yeniz Parton all showed up to secure podiums as well. This group is NOT to be messed with.
2) 30-34 (Hogwarts)
Harry, Ron, and Hermione (or Warren Sawicki, Brandon Johnson, and Tereza Rumfola) scored massive points for Griffendor with three overall Age Group victories. The 30-34 group also holds the Age Group best placement average — 3.8 — within the overall top 10 with over 17 appearances!
1) 35-39 (Power Rangers)
So here's the story: A handful of teens worked out for the last 20 years, jumped into the Dunk Wall, and — instead of coming out with coins — came out with a shit ton of medals. These badasses joined forces and dominated the first round of the Power Rankings. Taking 31 of the possible 120 spots, they averaged a placement of 4.9.
Led by Molly Mcgowan Gorsuch, Rachel Munoz, and Heather Bode on the ladies side, combined with outstanding performances from Aldo Soriano (SoCal) and Hannibal Smith (Arizona) on the men's side, the 35-39s have shown that — so far — they can fight off anyone.